Healthy and good food perception

As an overall, if something striked me in Latin America from Mexico down to Colombia during this last experience, was to try to understand what is “healthy food” for the local people and what leads to so much overweight.

A few facts which tells you that there is a big health issue :

– Mexico is the first country on the worldwide list having the highest proportion of people suffering from obesity and diabetes.

– In Mexico, in Oxxo’s convenience stores, there is one in almost every neighorhood, the only healthy food product you will find are : rice, eggs, milk and water. But you will find two complete shelves for Chips and crisps, greasy nuts and sodas.

– In Colombia, when people get fat, some think first about a lipo intervention, not about doing sport.

– The availability of healthy food in the bus stations does not exist, there is only crap food (chips and crisps, cheese oily bread, sodas, and other nuts). Bottomline: sugar, and fat greasy snacks not even a simple good sandwich. Here is a picture to support my point : taken in Bogota’s Bus Station.

Shop at the bus terminal

– In Colombia the Burger you can get at El Corral will cost you at least 10 dollars (with french fries and drink) which represents on the average of 2 times the price of a healthy standard “menu of the day”.

– On the same topic, What’s even more absurd, is that the same fast food restaurant, has an upscale version of it named “El Corral Gourmet”, where you can pay up to 20 dollars your burger, because the place has more-less 30 to 40 different burger’s version. But bottomline, even if the burger is better than McDonald or Burger King, this is still fast food and highly unhealthy. So we are talking 4 times the price of a healthy menu of the day here for a….burger.

Bottomline I am curious about knowing :

– what is the perception of “good food” in Latin America ? Is it to go to the mall and pay an expensive junk food to psychologicaly feel “good” ? Or else ?

(Gourmet from the European perception, comes from France, and it usually refers to excellent qualitative food experience, which will be expensive of course, but where quality, preparation and client service is outstanding. The best meat/sea food or whatever you have chosen, outstanding food receipts done by a great chef, good selection of wine to go perfectly along with the food, and it usually means a 3 course meal (starter, main course, dessert). It often goes with the idea of a “gastronomy” experience.
So my point is a “BURGER” has absolutely not its place in the “Gourmet” category.

– So, what is “Gourmet” in Latin America ?

– The mall culture is pretty much everywhere in Latin America, so the family goes there on the week end, for the movies, the shopping and fast (expensive) food. So it’s obvious there is an intention of copying the USA, but everyone knows that the USA is far to be an example in terms of food.

– What’s the current information, education regarding healthy food ?

– Obviously people who can afford making their shopping at the Mall are the upper social class of the population. What I find difficult to understand is why do people who have money (therefore a better education) pay an expensive price for junk food ?

– What do people learn from their own experience ?

I mean, people die everyday because of diabetes, and of consequences of obesity and lack of sport. So, isn’t there any learning and intention to do better ?

When I saw the extremely irresponsible consumption of sodas in Latin America, it just feels like people are sitting on a bomb, and they wait for it to explode. I saw a family man in Mexico, having his shopping trolley completely full of 3.5 liters of diverse sodas, and this is the weekly family’s consumption. This is just wrong. Water is cheaper or even free in some countries, why poisining your family with sodas ?
(this last point also involved the massive Coca Cola advertising which is present until the very last remote village, where is the ethical responsibilty from this company ?)

Thanks for your comments and inputs.